The 75th anniversaries of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 2020 renewed focus on the push for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Over the anniversary days, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon (TPNW) gained four ratifications, and on October 25 with the 50th ratification, gained enough for it to soon enter into force.
Still, however, the world faces the grave threat of the existence of nuclear weapons and a nuclear arms race, despite the 75-year-long plea for their total abolition by Hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as those impacted by nuclear testing, uranium mining and other nuclear development around the world. The Hibakusha themselves have prevented the repeat of nuclear war. Yet as their average age is now over 83 and many have already passed away, the opportunities to listen to their first-hand stories are becoming less and less every day.
Online testimony sessions
Since 2008 Peace Boat been organizing the “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project,” in which over 170 Hibakusha have travelled to more than 60 countries. As a steering group member of the 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Peace Boat continues to play a critical role conveying to the world the inhumanity of nuclear weapons through Hibakusha's own words. Although it is currently not possible to carry out our global voyages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued various initiatives online to connect Hibakusha with people around the world.
Based on these experiences, we are excited to now launch a new project, “Every Second Counts for the Survivors! -Peace Boat Hibakusha Project Online-”. This new project aims to make the most of the limited opportunities to listen to first-hand accounts from survivors, and to further strengthen grassroots connections between people around the world with the shared goal of abolishing nuclear weapons. Every second counts for the survivors, to raise awareness of the fact that humanity is still faced with the existential danger of nuclear weapons, and that all of us can play a role in eliminating this threat.
Help us reach 100 countries and regions by the end of 2021
We plan to hold online Hibakusha testimony sessions in more than 190 countries and regions to gain greater support for the Hibakusha’s plea and the TPNW. In order to do so, we are now calling on people around the world support through endorsement, voluntering, or hosting a testimony session.
In addition, we request your kind financial support to help the Hibakusha's voices reach people around the world. We understand that this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone, and many individuals and organizations are in need. We will be extremely grateful for any donations, which will be used to contribute to the organization and coordination of testimony sessions, communication and advocacy for the TPNW, and compiling voices of Hibakusha and global citizens in support of the nuclear ban. Specific uses can include honorarium for speaking Hibakusha, set up of IT equipment and venue costs.
We are excited and honoured to work together with Hibakusha and partners around the world. Your support can help to make the nuclear ban a global norm, and to realise a nuclear-free world, the long-held wish of the Hibakusha.
Voices of the Hibakusha
Setsuko Thurlow: “The government started the war, but let us suffer, that’s what the war could do. I want you to remember that. “
Yamashita Yasuaki: “Small actions do count, as a small stone creates waves when it is dropped in water.”
Morita Takashi: "Nuclear weapons and humanity cannot co-exist, and the mistake must never be repeated."
Lee Jongkeun: “I want the world to know that it was not only Japanese people who suffered from the atomic bombing, which is why I continue to give testimony.”